One of the best lines of advice I've ever gotten came from my aunt Rose in the third grade: "Stop complaining about what you don't like, and do what you can to change it." I took her advice that afternoon, had a much better school year because of it, and promised myself I'd never forget her words of wisdom.
So here I am today, immersed in a sea of politics and culture wars, TV and radio debates, panel discussions and Q & A sessions where I'm challenged to think hard about who I am, what I value, and what messages I hope to convey to the listeners and viewers who count on me to tell them what I really think.
There's never a day that goes by that I don't think about my aunt's advice. So, let's do ourselves--and our country--a favor and apply it.
Yes, the mainstream media is painfully biased. Yes, the Obama administration has and will continue to use Hollywood and the entertainment industry to push its agenda. Yes, the Left has been highly focused on--and skilled at--using pop culture outlets to shift public opinion on political, cultural, and social issues. Yes, academia is often in the brainwashing business and revisionist history is alive and well.
And now for my controversial statement--So what? What do the Left's tactics have to do with me or my ability to counter them with smart policy, solid media strategy, innovative marketing, effective delivery, creative projects, and youth outreach? Nothing. They have absolutely nothing to do with me. Unless, of course, I spend more time complaining about what's wrong than challenging it. That, I'm afraid, is a mistake being made all too often on the right.
Yes, talking Obamacare repeal is important. But what's more important is having smart, charismatic free-market enthusiasts in media, at events, and in liberal hubs talking specifics about alternatives. Why are the alternatives better? Who stands to gain? Why should young people care?
Where are the hired messengers for this? In D.C. talking to each other? On TV being non-specific? Writing up proposals they can toss on a website that the ideal target audience will never read?
Yes, speaking at conservative college forums is very important. But what's more important is speaking at college liberal forums. Be the odd man or woman out. Challenge the status quo. I promise you that someone in that room will leave thinking about what you've said. I did it as a student at Columbia University, I did it among professors while working in academia, and I do it every day in liberal New York City. Trust me, eyes and ears do open.
Conservative and libertarian novelists, filmmakers, artists, musicians, clothing designers--challenge the system. Use your creativity and talent to define this movement; don't let the Left define it for you. Will it be hard to get projects published and promoted? Sure. You know what else was hard? The drafting of the Constitution. They managed to get it done.
There are people in this business who are content to preach to the choir, spew talking points, and hope for the best. I'm not one of them. So I ask you to join me in working to get people of all ages, races, religions, and professions to think a little harder, to open their eyes and ears a little wider, and to question what many in media and academia have told them for so long.
In other words, let's stop complaining and start doing.